Understanding the Importance of Data Protection


“We’re moving to the cloud, so we don’t need backups anymore.”

This statement, made by a VP of infrastructure at the HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) 2019 conference, was not entirely unexpected, but uninformed. He was visiting the Veritas booth at the time, and a staff member asked, “Did your cloud vendor agree to manage your backup policies for you?” He looked puzzled, then worried, and didn’t quite know the answer. What followed was a very productive conversation about his responsibilities as a new cloud user.

Unfortunately, this story isn’t unique. We often hear reports of ransomware locking down cloud instances due to malicious hackers or eager cryptocurrency miners holding a company’s infrastructure hostage. Then there are the mistakes that happen on the home front: poor administration that gives too much power to the wrong users, database administration tasks doled out to backup or virtual admins and primary storage devoured by second- or even third-class data. It’s unfortunate, but true: No matter where your information resides, you are ultimately responsible for it.

Understanding and managing a robust data-protection policy is paramount to achieving long-term success and operability. Having a strong library of points-in-time for recovery not only builds an attainable recovery point against malicious attacks like ransomware but also provides a plan for restoration due to infrastructure instability, system outages and even human error. Backups create the ability to travel through time and return to a functional state; however, the strategy doesn’t end there.

Using multiple storage destinations and formats adds to the resiliency of your backup infrastructure. Whether it’s a combination of tape, secondary disk storage or cloud storage, having a robust timeline of backups spread across multiple locations ensures that when the unexpected hits, you always have a point of recovery available. A healthy number of backup copies located in online and offline media allows for resilient and rapid recovery from any recovery scenario.

Enterprise applications require a lot of expertise to back up and restore correctly to prevent data corruption. SaaS applications in particular must be handled with extreme care. Understanding the internal workings of on-prem physical workloads and infrastructures plus cloud native environments to guarantee recovery in case of a mishap is fundamental for operational efficiency and long-term success.

At Veritas, we’ve reiterated and refined how we handle data protection, adopting next-gen workloads, hyperconverged technologies and cloud infrastructures as part of our own development practices and infrastructure. And when it comes to workloads and infrastructure, the stakes for protecting it all have never been higher.

Establishing a baseline level of protection is step number one. A good backup policy can be driven through a simple and easy-to-use interface or integrated with an API. The end goal is that the policy can intelligently and effectively understand the data it’s responsible for and back it up at an efficient and optimal timeframe. After the data is ingested through a policy, it’s critical to distribute the backups among numerous media: tape to protect against embedded attacks like ransomware, disk for fast recovery, and cloud for future-proofing and long-term archival. Managing these processes from start to finish is paramount for a proper data management strategy and in turn will enable greater growth and resiliency in the future.

In addition to recovering from disasters and ransomware attacks, many businesses must protect data for compliance and regulatory purposes. A health care company may need to produce medical records exactly as they existed on a specific date several years ago, for example, and a financial institution may need to respond to a legal e-discovery request related to a particular transaction. Enabling businesses to meet these needs in a timely and cost-effective manner is not just a nice-to-have but a legal requirement to maintain operability.

These practices help create a strong data-protection strategy and offer a level of performance and recoverability that alleviates fear, increases efficiency and facilitates growth. We understand that with all the amazing new technologies released every day, it can be easy to forget that end users are responsible for their data protection. The need to establish a baseline of recoverability for an organization’s safety and stability is not dwindling—it’s becoming a larger and more important task than ever before.

As the industry evolves, so does its infrastructure and information. Shouldn’t data protection evolve as well?

Learn how comprehensive data-protection solutions from Veritas can help you keep up with these evolutions and ensure data protection is priority number one every step of the way.

This article was originally published by Wall Street Journal Tech in April 2019.